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EVs to account for more than one-in-six cars acquired in 2021

Electric vehicle chargingImage source: SMMT

Electric vehicles (EVs) are expected to account for more than one-in-six new cars acquired in 2021, according to the latest figures from the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT).

In July, battery electric vehicles (BEVs) accounted for 9.0% of registrations, continuing growth in June, while plug-in hybrids (PHEVs) reached 8.0%.

Plug-in vehicle uptake accelerated to 17.1% of market with 21,039 units registered in July.

Overall, July’s new car registrations fell by 29.5% to 123,269 units – the SMMT said the decline was ‘artificially heightened’ by comparison with the same month last year, when registrations increased as showrooms enjoyed a full month’s operation following the first 2020 lockdown.

However, the July performance was down 22.3% on the average recorded over the past decade, as the ongoing semiconductor shortage and the ‘pingdemic’ impacted on both supply and demand – making it the weakest July for new car registrations since 1998, prior to the introduction of the two-plate system, said the SMMT.

Mike Hawes, SMMT chief executive, said: “The automotive sector continues to battle against shortages of semiconductors and staff, which is throttling our ability to translate a strengthening economic outlook into a full recovery.

“The next few weeks will see changes to self-isolation policies which will hopefully help those companies across the industry dealing with staff absences, but the semiconductor shortage is likely to remain an issue until at least the rest of the year.”

The latest SMMT outlook has been revised downward and forecasts registrations to reach around 1.82 million units in 2021 - some 11.7% up on 2020, but down from the 1.86 million forecast in April, and down around 21.8% on the average new car market recorded over the past decade.

However, the SMMT estimates that BEVs will account for 9.5% of registrations by year end, while PHEVs are forecast to comprise 6.5% of the market, collectively totalling around 290,000 units by the end of the year.

“The bright spot, however, remains the increasing demand for electrified vehicles as consumers respond in ever greater numbers to these new technologies, driven by increased product choice, fiscal and financial incentives and an enjoyable driving experience,” Hawes added.

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